Rebecca Feingold, founder of the new Toasta & Co. on the corner of Adderley Street in West Melbourne, says one technique she’s learned in pursuit of the best toastie is to double layer the cheese.
“You’ve got to always start and finish with cheese,” she says. “So it’ll be bread, cheese, stuffing, cheese, bread.”
Every one of the 10 toastie options unashamedly stars cheese – sometimes several kinds in one. Two pieces of thick-cut Zeally Bay organic sourdough are brushed with butter (or duck fat, for $1 extra) and squished down with a cast-iron press until cheese oozes all the way down the sides. After it's taken off the grill, a flick of a butter knife spreads flakes of Maldon salt over both sides of the crisp bread.
“I studied nutrition, believe it or not,” Feingold says, laughing.
The little, three-week-old corner store is Feingold’s first permanent venture. For the past two years she’s been operating two food trucks: Toasta, which does toasties, and Von Crumb, which does schnitzel.
“Von Crumb, he’s our newer guy. We think of him as a person,” Feingold says. “He’s like Toasta’s older, cheekier brother.”
Feingold uses thigh meat instead of breast for the schnitzel, which she says surprises a few customers. Although it’s unconventional, she insists it's better.
“It’s a bit fattier, so it doesn’t dry out. We also buttermilk-crumb it.”
The schnitz at Toasta & Co. (which also comes in eggplant versions) is served in dark pretzel buns. There’s also an option for gluten-free bread, supplied by Black Ruby.
Between the loud cartoon wallpaper by artist Emily Bailey, the sunny yellow coffee cups, and Feingold’s enthusiastic waves as you enter and leave, the place exudes a warmth and big-kid innocence that makes going out for toasties not as silly as it sounds.
Toasta & Co.
181 Adderley Street, West Melbourne
(03) 9995 0308
Wed to Fri 7am–8pm
Sat & Sun 8am–8pm